Advancing Racial Justice Through Meaningful Civic Engagement

Racial injustice surrounds us, and many people are wondering how they can best take part to make meaningful change. At Points of Light, we’ve found tremendous capacity for widespread, systemic change beginning with small actions taken by many individuals.

Here are a few ideas about how to get involved, as well as some of our published resources to provide additional context and education. We’ve also highlighted a few individuals who have used their voice to advance equity and justice.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF FREE EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES

The first step in driving change is ensuring you’re educated on the topics at hand. Identify resources that will help you approach the issue from an aware standpoint. Education helps those of us contributing to the cause to confront stereotypes and biases we might be operating with. It reframes racism’s history and its influence on our everyday lives and honors the lived experiences of the people we’re attempting to help, creating greater empathy.

Points of Light has partnered with Morehouse College for the past few years to host conversations on dismantling racism, straight from the experts. The Listen. Learn. Act to End Racism sessions are all recorded and available for you to rewatch. 

One conversation you might consider starting with included Anneliese A. Singh, Ph.D., LPC, author, professor and Associate Provost for Diversity and Faculty Development at Tulane University. Dr. Singh, along with speaker Doug Osborne, M.A., health educator, Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium, helped raise our race-consciousness by challenging stereotypes, examining the history of racism and its impact on our lives, and sharing why healing from racism is an integral part of dismantling it. You can watch the discussion and access the list of associated resources here.

USE THE POWER OF YOUR VOICE IN ANTI-RACIST EFFORTS

Massive change doesn’t happen overnight. It almost always culminates in a communal effort of small, individual actions that move the needle of progress forward. In our efforts to eliminate systemic racism and create a just and equitable society, using your individual and collective voice matters. Speaking up and speaking out through words and actions can make an impact on others and advocate for the cause.

Our Voice issue of digital magazine Civic Life Today examines the multitude of ways people can live a civically engaged life, specifically via using their voice to advocate for change. This issue examines how to advance a cause you care about by using your voice in a variety of ways.

If you’re looking for how to get involved in ways to use your voice for causes that affect BIPOC people, you might be inspired by individuals using their voice to advocate for racial equity. Every weekday, Points of Light highlights a Daily Point of Light honoree, an individual doing extraordinary things in their community. Here are a few who have used their voice for racial justice:

Brandon Griggs from Jacksonville, Florida, is using his voice to advocate for computer and internet access for all students. Brandon established his “Hear the Youth” program in Duval County Public School District after experiencing his own roadblocks in accessing the tools he needed for schoolwork.

Nolan Smith in Durham, North Carolina, is working to raise awareness about injustices black and brown communities suffer across services including health care and education, and lack of access to essential resources and food by volunteering his time and effort through BLAST, which stands for “Building Leaders for A Solid Tomorrow,” as well as the Brotherhood Focus Group.

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